Classifying atopic dermatitis: protocol for a systematic review of subtypes (phenotypes) and associated characteristics.

Mulick, A.R. ; Allen, V. ; Williams, H.C. ; Grindlay, D.J.C. ; Pearce, N. ; Abuabara, K. ; Langan, S.M. ;
Classifying atopic dermatitis: protocol for a systematic review of subtypes (phenotypes) and associated characteristics.
BMJ Open, 2018; 8(9):e023097

Atopic dermatitis is a complex disease with differing clinical presentations. Many attempts have been made to identify uniform subtypes, or phenotypes, of atopic dermatitis in order to identify different aetiologies, improve diagnosis, estimate more accurate clinical prognoses, inform treatment andmanagement or predict treatment efficacy andeffectiveness. However, no consensus yet exists on exactly what defines these phenotypes or how many there are and whether they are genuine or statistical artefacts. This review aims to identify previously reported phenotypes of atopic dermatitis, the features used to define them and any characteristics or clinical outcomes significantly associated with them.

We will search Ovid Embase, Ovid MEDLINE and Web of Science from inception to the latest available date at the time of the search for studies attempting to classify atopic dermatitis in humans using any cross-sectional or longitudinal epidemiological or interventional design. Primary outcomes are atopic dermatitis phenotypes, features used to define them and characteristics associated with them in subsequent analyses. A secondary outcome is the methodological approach used to derive them. Two reviewers will independently screen titles and abstracts for inclusion, extract data and assess study quality. We will present the results of this review descriptively and with frequencies where possible.

Ethical approval is not required for this study as it is a systematic review. We will report results from this systematic review in a peer-reviewed journal. The main value of this study will be to inform further research.

CRD42018087500.